Is Lean only for big companies?

No. Whilst large organisations can invest resources (people) in identifying, measuring and inventing new ways of doing things they often struggle with implementing the results. The small business manager often knows where the problems are. Implementing new ways of working is relatively easy. The difficult bit is finding the time and sometimes the creativity to think of the solution.

What helps the small business manager is often taking a step back and looking at the whole picture. Then think creatively for alternatives, challenge long held assumptions and ‘invent’ new solutions.

So ‘buy’ some time. Allocate part of the week (perhaps a few hours Friday morning) and think of part of your business that causes you concern. Then ask yourself some simple questions:

  • What does our customer really want?
  • Are we supplying it?
  • Where do we waste time, materials and how could that waste be eliminated?
  • Do we need this stock, is there a smarter way of running our process?
  • Is my team always fully utilised in value adding activity?

An independent look at the business more often than not will identify activities that can be improved and help identify possible solutions.